Former principal of student care centre charged with forgery and cheating offences

SINGAPORE - He was once in the news for making good, starting an after-school care centre for underprivileged pupils after overcoming a youthful past of dabbling in drugs and getting into fights.

Shaik Ismail Mohd Ali is back in the news, but this time, the 49-year-old former principal of Impresario Learning Lab was charged in the State Courts on Thursday (Jan 2) with multiple cheating and forgery offences relating to subsidy applications made under the Student Care Fee Assistance (SCFA) scheme.

Under the SCFA scheme, which is administered by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), eligible households can receive monthly fee subsidies for their child's student care fees. These households can also receive a one-off grant of up to $400 per child, in order to subsidise the initial costs of student care enrolment.

Shaik is accused of forging subsidy renewal forms for a student who had already stopped attending Impresario Learning Lab. He also allegedly forged various documents to falsely represent the employment of the parents of two students.

His alleged actions, which took place between 2014 and 2016, resulted in wrongful subsidy payouts of about $7,000 by MSF.

During an audit in 2016, MSF uncovered multiple wrongful claims for student care fee subsidies made by Impresario Learning Lab.

The ministry referred the matter to the Commercial Affairs Department, and subsequently revoked the student care centre's status as an administrator of the SCFA scheme from Sept 20, 2016.

Impresario Learning Lab has since ceased operations.

Shaik is currently facing other charges, including for instigating a witness to give false information to the police, criminal intimidation, and unlawfully possessing an offensive weapon.

He is expected to be back in court on Jan 30.